Deonté Williams is living the NFL dream.
An undrafted rookie out of Cal Poly SLO, Williams had the opportunity to choose where he signed after slipping through the cracks of the 2013 NFL Draft. Instead of aiming for a contender or a team in dire need of a new running back, Williams decided to join the Oakland Raiders, the team he grew up rooting for as a Bay Area native.
A compact runner at 5’10’’, 213 pounds, Williams is a handful to bring down. With an explosive running style and the “truck stick” mentality when the ball is in his hands, he knows how to lay the wood on an unsuspecting defender. To top off his physical nature, Williams also boasts the speed (4.53 40-yard time) to keep NFL defenses honest.
The productive back racked up over 1,500 rushing yards and 12 touchdowns during his senior season at Cal Poly, attracting the attention of the Raiders, who were one of the teams to attend his Pro Day.
If Williams wants to stick with the Raiders, he’ll have to outplay several runners during training camp. He’ll be at war with Rashad Jennings, Latavius Murray and Jeremy Stewart for the two backup spots behind starter Darren McFadden. While it’s a tall order for an undrafted, small-school prospect, Williams has the drive and raw physical tools to stand out when training camp rolls around.
Even if Williams fails to crack the 53-man roster, there’s a good chance that the former Mustang could land a spot on the Raiders’ eight-man practice squad.
Williams compares his playing style to current Seattle Seahawks starter Marshawn Lynch, considered by many to be one of top running backs in the NFL. If the undrafted rookie pans out to be anything like the player his game is modeled after, the Raiders found a diamond in the rough.
First thing on Williams’ agenda: make the 53-man roster. We’ll see during training camp how much ground he can gain on the rest of the Oakland running backs.